After our little stint in the Gauntlet, and with the rest of our team with dragons, we made our way towards the village to get prepared for our attack on the Nest. It wouldn't take much, but we needed a plan of action, and I had no idea, even with our advanced numbers how we would ever be able to defeat the Red Death, and believe me, I was open to ideas.
We sat around in the Great Hall attempting to make plans for the next day, but everything we came up with didn't have any kind of merit to them. They were either too audacious, too ineffective, too costly, or too timely. We had no ideas, and I was starting to get desperate.
"How about we just blow it up?" said Tuffnut, and him and Ruffnut both got wicked smiles on their faces.
I sighed. These two really had not changed.
"Her hide is fireproof, and probably too thick to do any damage with dragon fire," I said.
"Why don't we see what Trader Johann has? Remember that stuff he brought us last time? What did he call it, gunpowder or something," suggested Fishlegs.
"Is Johann here? I didn't see him when we came in," I asked.
"Yeah, he's been here for at least a week, but he's going to be leaving soon, so if we're going to do anything, we'd better do it soon," said Aaron.
"Alright, Aaron, Coal, and I will go down to the docks and try to see if we can get some gunpowder, the rest of you try to see if you can figure out any other weaknesses that this thing may have. Astrid, I'll put you and Fishlegs ahead of that. Once we get this thing out of its hole, we're going to want to try to actually kill it," I said, and Aaron, Coal, and I set off for the docks.
We managed to get there just as Trader Johann was shipping out, and we were able to coax him to come back into port to discuss one last trade request.
"What can I do for you fellows? I need to get going onto Berserker Island, so please make this quick," Johann said.
"Yes, we're looking for something Fishlegs said you had. Something called gunpowder?" I asked.
He screwed his eyes at me for a second.
"Have we met?"
"Yes, although you may know me better like this," I said, pulling up my head over my face. See, whenever we did dealings with traders or other tribes, we made sure to go incognito, but he recognized my voice.
"Ah yes! The infamous Inventor. What shenanigans are you up to now?" Johann asked.
"You know him?" Coal asked.
"Sure. The Inventor and I had a steady trade business going, and he made himself some fancy coin with all of that iron, gold, and silver her exported. Where do you think most of the wealth has come from for the past year?" said Johann.
"That aside," I said, trying to steer the topic back into the right path, "What do you have in the way of this gunpowder stuff?"
"Ah yes, good old English Gunpowder. Originally invented in the Far-East, although the English have definitely improved it. I've got several barrels of it in my hold. What do you need it for?"
"How big of an explosion would all of the gunpowder you have make?" asked Coal.
"Why, with the amount I've got, you could blow up your entire Great Hall several times over. This is very volatile stuff lads, so if you're planning on using it for a prank, I would suggest against it."
"No, we need it for a different purpose," I said, and I filled him in on all of the details of the Red Death and the dragons.
"Well, that is a great story, and as long as you don't use the gunpowder on anything belonging to someone else, I'll be willing to sell them to you. I assume you have something in trade."
I pulled out a few things of my own making, an ornately crafted gold ring, a necklace fitted with a deep green emerald, and a silver circlet.
Johann inspected the items with an experienced eye and a small magnifying glass.
"Remarkable work, as always Inventor. This should be enough to buy you about, say, twelve barrels of gunpowder. Be careful with the stuff though, it packs a punch, but it should be stable enough to transport. Just make sure you don't let it get wet, or else it's useless."
We unloaded the gunpowder, and it was a remarkable amount of the stuff, we waved farewell, and Johann sailed off.
To test the stuff out, and to just have a little fun, I put a small amount in a mini keg I found on the docks and used an old rag as a fuse. I had experience with primitive explosives, I myself had designed a bomb based on ale (powerful too), but this stuff sounded a lot more powerful. I lit it and ran.
The stuff blew up magnificently in a beautiful fireball, and I could feel the shockwave from where we were sitting behind. Unfortunately, the blast happened to break a few boards of the docks, so there was just a hole where the mini keg had been.
"Man that's some good stuff. Imagine blowing this whole lot," said Aaron.
"It should be about enough to get her mad," I said.
"How big is this Red Death?" asked Coal.
"A little smaller than Berk. This explosion should just piss it off, maybe give us a weak point to strike at," I said.
"Well, it's a start at least."
We left the barrels at the docks under the foreman, Mulch. No sense in hauling them up if we're just going to leave with them again.
We ate one last meal before getting on our dragons and heading off towards the Nest. There was twelve barrels, and twelve of us, so it worked out perfectly. Each with their barrel in hand, er, claw, we set off.
We flew for about 20 minutes in relative silence, everyone quietly contemplating what we were about to do. My mind was racing, trying to figure out a way to kill this damn creation, but no such luck. I was really hoping on this gunpowder to expose a weakness in the Red Death.
No sooner had I thought this when a whole flock of dragons appeared on the horizon. This wasn't abnormal, some dragons tended to travel in packs, but as I looked, there was a very mixed assortment, and they all looked very angry.
Toothless began to get edgy, growling under his breath, but I could feel the vibrations.
What is it?
These dragons are angry, and they're being controlled.
But why go that way? There's nothing in that direction but…, and then realization dawned on me.
And no sooner had I said that when they were upon us, and they didn't just fly by either. We were set upon by dragons, attacking and clawing at us like we were a target or something
"We can't let them get to Berk!" I yelled to the others. "It's their target!"
I pulled out my sword in my left hand and Thor II in the other and began gunning down the dragons. I had to, they were trying to kill us, but I certainly didn't want to. I aimed mostly for something that would incapacitate but not kill them, like a shot to the leg or side. After fighting for our lives for several minutes, I heard one of the Terrors say,
Change of plans. On to Berk! We'll strike them where we can beat them.
I caught the eye of the Terror, and he didn't look controlled to me. He looked more like a loyal second-in-command. Odd that it would be a Terror. But I knew that meant that even if we killed the Red Death, the invasion would continue.
The flock then broke off from us and headed where we had come from.
"Hiccup," began Fishlegs.
"Not good. We need to get back to Berk, and fast," I said, but I knew that we could never catch up to the flock. The barrels where weighing us down, but we needed them. We'd have to go as fast as we could and hope to catch them early into their attack and hope the village was prepared to fight like they always had against the dragons.
And so began the series of unfortunate events that would culminate into the Archipelago War, one of the bloodiest and most complex wars ever fought by Vikings. This was only the beginning of a war that would encompass two species and four armies. And there could be only one winner.
Now we're getting into the good stuff. Be prepared for some good, long chapters coming up. If anyone has any ideas for specific battles they want to see, leave it in the reviews, and I'll take them into consideration. Please be sure to review. Thanks!